An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Safety Assessment of Research Reactors (INSARR) team of experts said organisational and technical measures are needed to improve the safety of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s CREN-K research reactor at University of Kinshasa, which was shut down in 2003.

During a review undertaken from 7 to 9 May at the request of  the  General Commissariat for Atomic Energy (CGEA), the INSARR mission focused on the implementation of recommendations provided by earlier IAEA safety missions, and noted limited progress. A previous INSARR held in 2004 was followed by several follow-up missions conducted from 2007 to 2015.

The five-member INSARR team, comprising experts from Belgium, Egypt, France and Morocco and the IAEA, said regulatory, organisational and technical improvements should be implemented in view of plans to bring the reactor back into operation. It recommended that Congo should:

  • Establish an effective regulatory supervision, including licensing and an inspection programme;
  • Improve the organisational structure for reactor operation, including a training and qualification programme for reactor staff;
  • Ensure adequate human and financial resources for reactor safety;
  • Update and develop reactor safety documents and programmes. This includes operating instructions, safety analysis, operational radiation protection and emergency preparedness and response;
  • Refurbish reactor safety systems and components that have been out of service for several years to resolve technical problems.

The 1MW Triga Mark II reactor, built in 1972 for research, education, training and radioisotope production, had operated for about 3